Western Union Vs Wise: A Detailed Comparison [2024]

Western Union and Wise (formerly TransferWise) help people transfer money internationally. They provide services that help people and businesses transfer money internationally to friends, and relatives, or for various purposes such as paying bills or buying items. 

However, they both offer similar services, but there are differences between them in terms of fees, exchange rates, and transfer speeds. 

In this comparison of Western Union Vs Wise, we’ll take a closer look at Western Union and Wise, exploring their features, fees, and convenience.

Also take a look at Western Union Vs MoneyGram.

Western Union Vs Wise: Overview

Western Union: Western Union helps people send and receive money all over the world. You can use Western Union to send money to friends, family, or even as part of a business transaction. 

There are several ways to send money, including online, through their mobile app, or by visiting one of their physical locations. It is a convenient and widely used method of transferring money across borders.

Wise: Wise is a company that specializes in international money transfers. It allows individuals and businesses to send money across borders at lower fees and with more transparent exchange rates than traditional banks. 

Wise offers a secure and convenient way for users to send money online or via the Wise mobile app. With its user-friendly interface, cost-effective pricing, and commitment to transparency, Wise has become a popular choice for international money transfers.

FeatureWestern UnionWise
FeesAdvertised fees may be low, but hidden in a less favorable exchange rate.Transparent fees: upfront charge + small percentage of transfer amount. Uses the mid-market exchange rate.
SpeedGenerally faster, especially for cash pickup options (may come with extra fees).Slower for bank transfers (1-5 days) but can be instant for some destinations.
Delivery MethodsMore options: bank transfer, cash pickup at agent locations, mobile wallet deposit (availability varies by country).Primarily bank transfers.
Exchange RatesLess favorable rates compared to mid-market.Uses the mid-market rate (the rate you see on Google).
ConvenienceWidespread agent locations, user-friendly app, free online account.Primarily online service, but offers a mobile app.
Best forUrgent cash transfers, sending to countries with limited banking infrastructure.Sending larger transfers, prioritizing exchange rates and transparency

Western Union Vs Wise: Fees & Exchange Rates

Western Union: Western Union charges fees for sending money, which vary according to the amount sent, the destination country, and the payment method. Additionally, Western Union makes money by adjusting exchange rates when converting currencies.  

Wise: Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, has a transparent fee structure and offers competitive exchange rates. The fee for each transaction with Wise is typically lower than that of traditional banks. Also, Wise provides real-time exchange rates, which are the same as those you find on search engines such as Google.  

Suggested: Xoom Vs Wise.


Western Union Vs Wise: Features & Functionality

Western Union: Western Union allows you to send money online, with their app, or at one of their locations. They offer a variety of options for sending money quickly and economically, depending on your needs. 

Additionally, Western Union offers services such as money orders and bill payments. Also, they provide features such as tracking your transfer and allowing you to receive cash at authorized locations or directly into your bank account. 

Wise: With Wise, you can send money to more than 70 countries at a low, transparent fee, often much cheaper than traditional banks. It also provides multi-currency accounts, which allow users to hold and manage money in different currencies. Wise offers competitive exchange rates and transparent fees, and you can send money online or through their app. 

Also, Wise provides features like borderless accounts that let users receive money in multiple currencies with the help of local bank details. Additionally, it offers a debit card linked to the borderless account for easy spending abroad. 

Read this: Remitly Vs Western Union.

Western Union Vs Wise: Speed Of Transfer

Western Union: The speed of Western Union transfers depends on where the money is being sent and how it will be received. In most cases, the receiver can pick up the money within minutes. 

Some bank deposits can even be processed on the same day, depending on the country. However, bank deposits usually take 1- 5 business days. So, make sure to check the estimated delivery time before you send the money.

Wise: With Wise, most transactions are completed within 24 hours or two working days. Transfers between Wise accounts are often instant, but transfers to bank accounts can take a bit longer. However, transfer speeds will vary depending on the currency, destination country, and payment method used.

Also read: Review Of Western Union.

Western Union Vs Wise: Safety & Security

Western Union: Western Union uses strict security protocols to ensure the safety of its customers when sending money. They use advanced technology to protect personal and financial information during transactions. 

They also use strict verification procedures to prevent fraud and ensure that the money is sent and received correctly. Additionally, Western Union provides fraud prevention tips and resources to educate customers about potential risks. 

Wise: Wise takes security and safety very seriously to keep your money safe. The company also employs a team of experts who constantly monitor suspicious activity and keep their systems updated. Wise adheres to strict regulations in every country in which it operates to prevent fraud and money transfers

The two-factor authentication process adds an extra layer of security to your account, preventing unauthorized access. In addition, Wise monitors transactions 24/7 for any suspicious activity, letting you know if there are any issues right away. 

Also know about Remitly Vs Wise.


Western Union Vs Wise: Ease Of Use

Western Union: Western Union is an easy way to send money to someone who lives far away without requiring a bank account. There are many ways to use their service, including online, through their app, or by visiting one of their many locations. 

You can send money quickly by simply entering the recipient’s name and location. Additionally, they accept credit cards, debit cards, or cash. 

Wise: Wise makes it easy to send money internationally. It’s easy to sign up online or through their app, and the process is very user-friendly. To transfer money, you only need to enter the recipient’s details and the amount you want to send. 

Wise offers competitive exchange rates and transparent fees, so you know exactly what you’re paying. Additionally, you can track your transfers in real time. 

Read also: WorldRemit Vs Wise.

Western Union Vs Wise: Pros & Cons

Western Union


  • Wider reach: Western Union offers money transfer services to more countries and territories than Wise.
  • Cash pickup: Western Union agents can deliver cash to recipients without requiring a bank account, which is convenient if the recipient doesn’t have a bank account.
  • Faster for cash pickup: Cash pickup transfers are often very fast, even instant.


  • Higher fees: In addition to the upfront fees, Western Union often charges hidden fees in the form of an unfavorable exchange rate.
  • Lower transfer limits: The amount you can transfer online through Western Union may be lower than using Wise.
  • Slower bank transfers: International bank transfers are often delayed by several days.
  • No additional features: Western Union does not offer any features such as currency accounts or debit cards.



  • Lower fees: They use a mid-market exchange rate and charge a small, transparent fee, which makes it cheaper than Western Union.
  • Faster bank transfers: Wise bank transfers can arrive much faster than Western Union.
  • Higher transfer limits: Wise allows you to send a larger amount of money online than Western Union.
  • Additional features: Wise offers multi-currency accounts and debit cards to manage foreign currency.


  • Limited reach: Wise does not offer money transfers to as many countries or territories as Western Union.
  • No cash pickup: Wise does not offer cash pickup as a payment option.


In comparing Western Union and Wise for money transfers, consider factors like cost, speed, and convenience. Western Union may be more widely available with physical locations, but it often charges higher fees and offers less favorable exchange rates. 

On the other hand, Wise offers lower fees and transparency in exchange rates, making it a better option for users. However, the choice between Western Union and Wise depends on individual preferences, but for many, Wise offers a more economical and efficient method of sending money overseas.

Suggested: Zelle Vs PayPal.


Is Zelle and Wise the same?

No, Zelle and Wise are two different money transfer services, although both can be convenient for sending money.

Is Wise a US bank account?

No, Wise is not a traditional US bank account.

Is it safe to connect bank account to Wise?

Yes, connecting your bank account to Wise is generally safe.

Does Wise app require SSN?

Wise doesn’t require your Social Security Number (SSN) for basic money transfers.